What is participatory budgeting, and what does it have to do with a small Brazilian community 30 years ago?
Have citizens’ assemblies gone from being democratic unicorns to an invasive species?
Is digital democracy the new infrastructure?
Welcome to the first episode of the Practical Democracy Podcast. We’re going out into the world to talk to some interesting people about practical ways in which we can improve democracy, today.
This time, Delib director Ben Fowkes sits down with Dr Rebecca Rumbul, head of research at civic tech charity mySociety, for a frank conversation on the state of democracy in the UK. The full episode is just under an hour long, so if you can’t listen all in one go, here are the topic headings:
0.00 Rebecca explains her role in mySociety and the wider work of the charity
12.48 On participatory budgeting: how it came about and the challenges it faces today
27:27 On citizens’ assemblies: is their rise in popularity good or bad? And what’s involved in actually running one?
36:08 Funding: mySociety is a charity, and their flagship website TheyWorkForYou is used both within government and by the public at large – but it doesn’t get funded at all. Rebecca makes a case for recognition from central government that “digital democracy is the new infrastructure”.